A mechanical engineering researcher has developed silicon dioxide nanoparticles (or ‘engineered sand’) coated with a high dielectric constant polymer to provide an inexpensive solution for cooling electronics. The cooling process is due to the efficient way the coated nanoscale material conducts heat and the nanoscale electromagnetic effects created on the surface of the silicon dioxide particles.
According to head researcher Baratunde Cola, use of the sand can result in a 20-fold thermal conductivity increase, leading to heat dissipation.
“The material has the potential to be very inexpensive and easy to work with,” he added in a comment to phys.org.
The development could potentially result in a new class of high thermal conductivity materials useful for heat dissipation from power electronics, LEDs and other applications with high heat fluxes. However, further testing is needed to ensure long-term efficiency and to guarantee that there will be no harmful effects on the technology that is being cooled.